4 December 1998

United Auctions loss

SCOTLANDS biggest auction marts group, United Auctions, made an operating loss of more than £600,000 in the six months to the end of July, compared with a loss of £85,000 during the same period last year.

Chairman John Izat blamed lower livestock numbers which had reduced commission income. But he was confident about the long-term future. A dividend of 2p/share is to be paid.

The firm is diversifying into the cattle AI market with plans to establish a national bull stud as well as offering a comprehensive insemination, synchronisation, and semen storage service. A team of AI technicians is being recruited to cover the whole of Scotland.

United Auctions was among a list of 33 marts among creditors of Lockerbie Meat Packers which went into liquidation last year. Liquidator Grant Thornton has stated that 175 unsecured creditors are owed £3.83m. Auction companies account for £1.5m of that debt. The Meat Hygiene Service is owed £76,000 and the Meat and Livestock Commission £140,000. Grant Thornton estimate a maximum 16p in the £ payment to such creditors.

The assets of Lockerbie Meat Packers were bought last year by a consortium of meat traders which immediately closed the business down.